Herbaceous Babe is going to be a little less regular in the days to come as the author gets launched in her professional career. Keep checking back, because there's no telling when a new post will appear!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Raw M.A.T. Patties

Here's another quick'n'simple lunch idea inspired by BeautifulonRaw:

(Picture coming soon - camera was dead, so I'll have to make it again this week for a photo shoot!)

Take a clean Mushroom cap , stuff it with Avocado (mashed or sliced) and Tomato (trust me when I say 'bite-size pieces), and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add fresh herbs to taste.

Seriously, I've been eating avocado and tomato like a crazy woman this summer! And why not? Avocados are a great source of good fat, and tomatoes are rich in antioxidants (among other health benefits). Good tomatoes are hard to find though, so I buy local, organic tomatoes whenever possible for the best flavour.

Something else I did last week was make a Bruschetta "bowl" - diced tomato and avocado drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and topped with basil and oregano. Eat it with a fork, or serve with corn chips :)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Raw Sprouted Lentil Bowl

Tardy again - tsk, tsk. Whatever will you do with me?

Sorry about that. Things have been picking up in the professional realm, leaving me less time to cook let alone write. But I still manage to whip up some simple and nutrient-dense meals during the week - like this sprouted lentil bowl:

Sprouting lentils is the exact same process as alfalfa (soak overnight, rinse twice daily after that). Throw in some kale, carrots, and cucumbers, then toss in italian dressing.

Admittedly, I'm entering into another season of 'I don't care enough to think right now; I just want to eat,' which is probably the reason I had this particular dish three days in a row... But I know you've been there too (and if you haven't, don't be surprised when it comes), and I just want to tell you that's okay - just have a grab-bag of simple go-to meals so you don't end up bingeing on candy and chips.

Can't decide? Fill a jar with popsicle sticks labeled with some of your favourite meals (kinda like those date-night idea jars on Pinterest), then let Fate decide for you.

Image from "I Love This and That" by Denise Derbyshire

Monday, June 24, 2013

Raw Beet Nori Rolls (2 ways)

Here's something I've been wanting to try for quite some time: rice-less nori rolls. There were still beets left over from Ravioli night that I needed to use, and a recipe from Russell James that had been sitting in my queue for months. So it seemed like a no-brainer: it was time.

This is a really simple recipe - only six ingredients. My beet sauce came out a bit chunkier than his. Maybe my beet was larger; maybe I didn't blend it long enough. Flavour? Fresh, but not too significant. Next time, I'll add more lemon juice... and an avocado. Biggest problem: I didn't sprout enough alfalfa! Man, I could have eaten three or four of these easily.

Back to the drawing board... Hey, I have jicama!

The gal at Simple Raw Life says, "Don't process it too much or it will become too mushy." ... I should have listened. Consistency ended up far too close to coconut, which is a HUGE deal-breaker for me. Plus, I don't think I squeezed out enough water. Still, I felt like it was much more meal-like than the alfalfa.

I dunno... So far, my vote still goes to old-fashioned sushi. But one of these days, maybe I'll try it with hummus or a nut paté, or parsnip rice if I'm feeling really adventurous.

Meanwhile, the beet purée persists. Oh look, zucchini! Add a bit of bell pepper and a sprinkling of tarragon, and bam, I live to eat another day.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Raw Balsamic Broccoli Bowl

"Salad" has kind of become a dirty word in my kitchen. But veggie bowls with dressing have started to gain a bit of renown lately, especially as I search for more delicious and interesting (but still simple and nutritious) raw meals. "Veggie bowl" ...I could live with that.

After a particularly monumental splurge at the grocery store, I contemplated what to eat first. Here's a glance into my thought-process in real-time:

It's been a while since I've eaten raw broccoli... And I LOVE mushrooms... Oh, but let's not use liquid aminos this time... Hmm, out of almond slivers.... Hey, I bet I sun-dried tomatoes would go well with that... OOOH, balsamic vinaigrette...

There it is, folks. Ten minutes later, it was in the depths of my belly and feeling rather cozy. Very satisfying. Very refreshing. Very worth repeating.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Barbecue Shroom Sandwiches

*This post is labeled as Raw and Vegan. The Udi's gluten-free whole grain bread pictured below is cooked and contains egg-whites. Substitute a diffferent bread to suit your dietary needs.

One day during my long commute, my nose caught a whiff of something akin to barbecue sauce, leaving me with a sudden and inexplicable craving for pulled pork sandwiches. Seriously?! Pork was my original inspiration for becoming a vegetarian! Weird, huh? Granted, it was late, and I was famished and very open to suggestion.

Well a few miles down the road, it hit me. In my fridge were mushrooms and a bottle of Saz's gluten-free barbecue sauce. (It tastes great on bean burgers, so why not?) Chop, chop. Glug, glug, a handful of alfalfa sprouts for good measure. Five-minute supper, done.

Now, I will say this. The barbecue sauce (which was the Vidalia Onion variety) was sweeter than I would have preferred, but as a whole, the sandwich was pretty tasty. If I were to do it again (and I will), I'd probably opt for making a homemade sauce that had a darker, smokier flavour such as the one featured on The Simple Lens (except I never have beer on hand...).

*P.S. Here's an article by Bon Appetit about their favourite gluten-free beers.

Of course, you can't have a barbecue without chips! But skip those deep-fried potato slices, and try these raw kale chips by Rhythm Superfoods (pictured: zesty nacho). If you don't like spicy food (and even the kool "ranch" flavour has a bit of a kick), they also sell sweet potato chips.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Raw Beet Ravioli

Beets* are one of those veggies I've only ever eaten cooked (partially because I only discovered that I liked them a couple of years ago). I was a little scared to try it after my non-vegan family had tried it during a cleanse several months ago and it didn't go over well. But all the other vegans are doing it, so why not? Bad recipes rarely persist. Therefore it stood to reason that there must be something to this beet ravioli craze.

The cashew cheese filling in this is AMAZING! The quiet fortitude of the tarragon combined with the subtlety of the green onion made the meal seem less like a glorified salad and more like a hearty dinner.

I had my doubts about the yellow bell pepper purée at first though. Post-taste, I glanced up at my sister and squinted: "More lemon juice? More salt maybe? What about black pepper or basil?" Nope, she assured me. It was fine the way it was. And she was right. Before I remembered to tweak, my ravioli was half-eaten. Yum!

*high in folate (37% DV), potassium (13%), manganese (22%), vitamin C (11%), and iron (6%). Russell James recently sent out a link to this video that describes beet benefits for athletes.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Raw Collard Wraps

So... yesterday was a holiday, right? Very deceiving. I forgot it was Monday - sorry about that!

Okay, now anyone who has been a vegan for long has heard of collard wraps. They're one of the staples for plant-based life-forms. Can you believe it that I was vegan for over a year before making one of my own? (I did eat a Raw "Chili Cheese Burrito" at Ecopolitan.

Tomato, Carrot, Yellow Capsicum, Alfalfa Sprouts, and Mushroom
Tip #1: Don't be shy. Obviously, your collard needs to be able to close, but you want to feel like you actually ate something when you're done.

Tip #2: Use some kind of spread and/or dressing (italian-style is my preference) to add a little pop of flavor. It's like eating a salad... without a fork.

Tip #3: It may look prettier to wrap from the narrow end of the leaf to the outer edge, but it's easier to maintain a uniform shape when starting from the wide end.
Besides sprouting the alfalfa (which you could buy...), this meal is simple and fast. I just stood at the counter, trimmed the main stem, and sliced the veggies directly into the leaf.

If you like having a few recipes to follow, or simply to inspire:
Here's one from Edible Perspective.
And another from "Avocado Pesto."
And one involving sprouted quinoa from The Sprouted Kitchen.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Baked Spring Rolls

You know that moment when you realize that you've substituted almost everything in the recipe? Yep, I've been there.

This is the third attempt at spring rolls this month and, sadly, the closest I've followed the recipe so far. Instead of bok choy, there's cabbage. Instead of green onion, there's white. Instead of green pepper, there's crushed red pepper flakes. And tomato instead of beet. In one final devious act, I served my rolls with the lemon-ginger dipping sauce from last week's sushi. It was good.

...And because my autism lends me the great gift of tasting both words and pictures, I can assure you that the  original recipe is even more scrumptious.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Courgette Fettuccine with Tarragon Cream Sauce

For those of you who are not subscribed to Russell James, The Raw Chef - Get it! This man knows what people like us are looking for. He's constantly making deals and sending free recipes. He even has a section on his site called Weekday Raw (for those of us who can't make meal-planning our full-time job) and a tab in the recipe box for dehydrator-free meals.

Now this recipe is probably the best vegan alfredo you will ever eat. Plus, because it's raw, you'll be satisfied both with your meal and with life in general. True story.

The sauce is pretty standard (cashews, water, oil, lemon juice, and salt), but the tarragon really gives it the Wow factor. Now, Russell used a couple ingredients than I didn't (that's what I get for not planning ahead), such as red bell peppers and green onions, but as always, I managed to find something comparable. To substitute, I threw in a bit of chili powder and onion powder.

Easy; delicious; healthy. In no particular order. Get it!

P.S. I almost forgot: pretty sure the link to the recipe requires login/membership. If you aren't signed up and don't want to be, but still want to make this dish, follow any basic cashew cream recipe and add tarragon.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Flashback: Sauces and Spreads

So... remember the post back in January: Packed Lunch Ideas? Well, I'm beginning to realize just how essential sauces and spreads are to maintaining vegan sanity. My minimalist approach to plant-based cuisine has been kinda scraping by lately (again). Then it hit me: I hadn't made cashew cheese or hummus in an embarrassingly long time, and I couldn't remember the last time I had made dressing...

Both of these unceremoniously-displayed spreads are recipes from Practically Raw by Chef Amber Shea. The hummus was especially delicious with a very strong kick (due to my exceptionally large clove of garlic). The cheese... needs something (perhaps more nutritional yeast, maybe just some salt, I'm not sure...). Whatever the recipe, every vegan should have both of these in the fridge at all times, right next to some home-grown alfalfa sprouts.

These guys are beyond easy, and you can grow them as-needed and know they're always fresh. Just soak about a tablespoon of seeds in water overnight, drain in the morning, and rinse every 8-12 hours. For best results, store the jar upside-down so any excess moisture can drip through the wire-mesh lid.

Oh, and while we're at it, I just wanted to encourage the sushi-lovers to make this lemon-ginger dipping sauce. In fact, the entire recipe is fabulous, phenomenally better than my first attempt at Nori Rolls.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Mock Tuna Lettuce Wraps

Ever wondered what to do with your almond meal after making nut milk? I have. Every week, I optimistically save my grounds in a little container, promising myself that I will use it as a crust on some delicious dessert. Then, two weeks later, it finally finds its way into the trash can.

Never again. With a little pickle juice and vegenaise (make your own soy-free mayo here), I have a scrumdidliumptious Mock Tuna spread. My mum also adds onion and celery to hers for consistency's sake. Throw it on some bread or a leaf and add a few veggies, and wa-pow, you've got a deliciously satisfying raw vegan meal.

Bon appetit!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Dear Reader...

Hey, this is just a heads-up that I'll be out of town Monday and away from internet access, so look for this week's post on Tuesday evening.

See you soon!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Review: Trader Joe's Soy Creamy

While Minnesota is still trying to figure out which season it is, I've decided it's time for summer. Sure, there's a fresh blanket of snow on the ground, but we did reach a high of 44. Optimism triumphs.

Alright, so I avoid soy and even scoff at vegans who simply replace every animal product in the world with a soy alternative, but I can't stand coconut, and Trader Joe's Cherry Chocolate Chip "Soy Creamy" is slightly more economical than many other non-dairy frozen desserts (and definitely worth the indulgence). It's smooth and a sophisticated level of sweet, and the cherries actually taste like cherries instead of candy. General consensus: the only possible improvement would be a little swirl of fudge.

*I've also tried Tempt (hemp-based frozen dessert). Tasty, but not quite as good as this. I'd recommend both, depending on availability.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Guacadillas and Tacos

Mm. Hispanic food.

Okay seriously, I've been to Central America twice, and my aunt is from Mexico. Their idea of hispanic food is very different from ours. But hey, if it tastes good, eat it, right?

I used to scoff at the idea of a vegan quesadilla. Oxymoron much? Then I caved and made my very first guacamole-stuffed corn tortilla, and that was that. This baby was packed with flavour and great nutrition. I threw in a few black (turtle) beans and some chopped veggies to give it a bit more substance.

Of course, if you're going to cook beans, you might as well cook a lot. Since I had a full pack of corn tortillas to eat through, I could think of no better way than to make "turtle" tacos. I reheated the beans in a saucepan with some tomato and zucchini, then through in a few spices (cumin, marjoram, garlic powder, and chili powder, to be exact). Scrumptious!

Want to know how to make your own hard-shell tacos? Click here.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Oops! It's Tuesday. I didn't exactly forget; I just procrastinated all day... and then I forgot. Forgive me?

Well, today's spotlight is the young and beautiful Bell Pepper, the only member of the capsicum family without capsaicin (which is what gives peppers their heat):

This recipe takes a bit of time, but it's pretty simple: rice and beans (both pre-cooked), tomato paste, nutritional yeast, and cumin. Add other veggies if you want (zucchini, perhaps...).

Want to know the key to choosing the best pepper for stuffing?

First of all, there's something you should know about the colour. Red peppers are sweeter and higher in vitamins than green ones.

Second, "sex" your pepper. Four-footed peppers are female (that is, they have more seeds), a little wider at the top (to facilitate stuffing), and less likely to fall over in the oven.

P.S. Also pictured above is a handful of romaine topped with macadamia ranch dressing made by Mother. Super tasty! I still need to ask her for that recipe, but I'll let you know when I do. Bon appetit!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Coffee Cake

What do ice cream cones, silly putty, the Leaning Tower of Pisa have in common?

They were all accidental successes. Like this gluten-free coffee cake:

...... It was supposed to be a pan of cinnamon rolls, but for whatever reason, the "dough" ended up more like batter. Definitely not conducive to rolling. I still have no idea what happened. But the original recipe didn't specify which GF all-purpose flour to use. This one was made with Bob's Red Mill.

Fresh from the oven, the insides were on the gummy side... but in a good way. Each day, it got a little firmer, but be careful it doesn't dry out too much! Next time, I'll actually mix the cinnamon-sugar topping/filling into the cake and possibly even increase the amount of sugar.

No complaints here. I've been downright desperate for a decent baked good lately, and I was grateful to find such a simple solution :)

*Nut allergies? Substitute almond milk for rice or soy variety, and you're set!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Eggplant Pizza Bites

*This post is labeled as raw because the original recipe is raw. However, I baked mine. (400 for 20 min, I think... I need to learn to write these things down!) It can also be made nut-free if you use a different cheese!

Pizza's the hardest. The hardest to give up. The hardest to resist. The most tedious to find an alternative. I've tinkered with homemade gluten-free crusts, indulged in the store-bought versions, and hunted madly for various methods to make America's favourite meal more accessible.

After all my research, I've concluded that vegans are some of the most creative people on the planet. It seems like they make pizza out of almost anything. There's quinoa crust, cauliflower crustalmond-flax crust (which I wrote about in September), and countless others. (These three happen to all be raw/dehydrated, but cooked versions like this quinoa or this sweet potato do exist.) Then there are the pizza-stuffed veggies such as the portobello (which I wrote about in January) and the potato.

Overwhelmed yet? Sorry about that.

But by far, the "Practical Choice" award goes to the Eggplant. It's cheap, healthy, simple, and satisfying. While I can easily devour 1-1/2 fully-loaded pizzas on an Udi's crust, six or eight 3" rounds of eggplant left my belly feeling snug as a bug. The only down-side is that cooked eggplant is a little soft to be eating with your hands, but hey, there are worse things. Like living without pizza.

Bon appetit!

PS: My roommate just made the most amazing, mind-blowing beverage EVER: cranberry juice, grapefruit, hibiscus, Twinings' Orange Cinnamon Spice tea, and ice. Not too tart, not too sweet. Kind of reminds me of a mullet: "business in the front, party in the back."

Monday, March 18, 2013

Veggie Noodles in Orange-Tahini Dressing

A friend asked me yesterday if I knew any recipes that used tahini. Julie, this one's for you.

Looking for a simple, refreshing raw recipe? Well, here you go. Julienne some zucchini and carrot and covere in a zingy mixture of one part tahini, one part lemon juice, and two parts orange juice, top with avocado and a few choice herbs, and voilà! Dinner is served, compliments of

Or if you're in the mood for something a little more "gourmet" and have a bit of energy, check out Russell James' Tomato and Macadamia Mozzarella Linguine. I haven't tried this one yet, but it looks crazy-amazing (even if it does call for parsnip).

Monday, March 11, 2013

Taco Salad

I'm sure you've had those days - when the last thing you want to do is create a complex and labour-intensive dinner that will be gone in less than 15 minutes. Everybody needs an easy back-up plan for such days. For me, it's taco salad.

Seriously, the hardest part is heating the veg refried beans. (Lately, I've been buying the cans. If you prefer to make your own in the crock pot, check out this tried-and-true recipe from Little House of Veggies.) Then all you have to do is chop a few vegetables.

Pictured: refried beans, spinach, tomato, jalapeños, onion, and salsa. On days with a little more energy, consider serving with your favourite guacamole and/or vegan sour cream.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Vanilla Pear Fruit Leather

Aren't they beautiful? I meant to get a picture of the inside (the actual fruit!), but amidst all the road-trip preparations, I downright forgot. In fact, I almost forgot to eat one. Thankfully, they were misplaced en route to Texas and made it all the way home. Relieved, I peeled back the parchment and took a reverent bite.

Texture was a little grainy. Flavour was dark and assertive, though more gentle than domineering, like the woodsman who rescues Little Red Riding Hood. Until my first taste of that fruit leather, I had no idea that food could make a person feel so safe.

The recipe was discovered on an otherwise normal September, except for the fact we were anticipating the arrival of a boxful of pears from our local co-op. Pears, agave, and vanilla blended until smooth and dehydrated: it doesn't get much easier than that. And for traveling vegans, it's a God-send. Now with spring just around the corner, we can look forward to trying other seasonal fruit flavours in the near future.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Senza Ricetta Stew

Senza Ricetta  is regular fare in my family. But the phrase "just like ma used to make" holds a different meaning for us. You see, my mother almost never used a recipe, especially for soup. It usually involved a legume, a grain, with a handful of this and a dash of that, then served with the disclaimer, "If you like it, great. If you don't, oh well. Either way, you'll probably never have it again." Over the last year, I've carried on the tradition, making one-time wonders nearly every week. The Wild Rice and Lentil Stew from last month was one such recipe, followed by many other variations of Senza Ricetta (Italian: without recipe).

If this post provided a recipe, the title would be an oxymoron. However, hopefully the following ideas will inspire a bit of reckless creativity in your kitchen!

Once upon a time, my sister left me for a week without a dinner companion. On lonely nights, I have a terrible habit of raiding the cupboard for rice cakes and raisins. To prevent such aimless grazing, I assembled an epicly nutritious soup with chickpeas, kale, zucchini, tomato, onion, carrot, celery, jalapeno, salt and pepper that bears a striking resemblance to December's Winter Bean Soup or Happy Herbivore's Chana Palak Masala.

This one reminds me a bit of paella. It was near the end of the grocery week, and any leftover veggies went into the pot: tomato, squash, and who knows what else, paired with the ubiquitous wild rice. Hearty, cozy, and perfect for a winter evening.

A festive spin-off of the Creamy Kale, I used wild rice and threw in some chopped red bell pepper for a slightly different flavour.

Finally, a crowning moment. Nothing can transform a standard lentil and rice soup into a gourmet wonder quite like balsamic vinegar and sage. Of course, the garlic, ginger and chili powder may have helped a bit.

Soups are pretty hard to mess up. So play a little. Treat every day as a culinary adventure. And, if all else fails, remember you never have to make the same thing twice.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Nori Rolls

The first time I made nori rolls, I thought, If I had known it was this easy, I'd have made it more often. They turned out perfect, and beautiful, and positively delicious.

Admittedly, I cheated a little. Instead of using the traditional vinegary sticky rice (that's what makes it "sushi"), I used basmati mixed with mashed avocado. Then I stuffed with red bell pepper, marinated mushroom, and lightly steamed asparagus - SO TASTY!

2/3c dry basmati rice
3c water
1 avocado, mashed
2 tsp lemon juice (I didn't measure, just squirted...)
2-4 thin stalks of asparagus, lightly steamed
red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced and marinated*
2 sheets of nori

Cook rice in water and let cool uncovered (The second time I made it, I put the rice in the fridge with a lid, so the moisture couldn't escape. Bad choices.). Mix rice, avocado and lemon juice, then spread thinly on nori sheet (leave 1" bare on end farthest from you). Arrange vegetables along the 1/2 closest to you, then roll as tightly as possible. Wet the last inch slightly to seal. Cut roll into 1" segments (or slightly smaller if roll is thicker). Serve with Nama Shoyu (or equivalent) and sesame seeds. Eat with chopsticks.

I used 3c water to 2/3c rice, hoping it would make it stickier, but it didn't seem to make much difference....

My marinade was one of those "mad scientist" moments, where I just grabbed whatever looked good from the cupboard: liquid aminos, olive oil, sesame oil, and red wine vinegar (I think). 

I almost tried to make it without using a mat, but when I was at the store getting the avocado, I saw one and grabbed it - and I'm so glad I did! It helps evenly distribute the pressure while rolling, plus protects the nori from any moisture on your hands.

Between the two of us, we could have probably eaten 3 rolls easily, but we ran out of rice :)

Here's a link to a site that has a recipe and step-by-step pictures:

Making sushi at home isn't fool-proof, but it's simple. And cheap. Even if your first few tries are miserable failures, chop up the nori roll, pull an Amber Shea and call it a de-constructed sushi bowl and hope for better luck next time. Because, let's face it, sushi is worth a "next time."

Bon appetit! 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Eggplant Champignon

Call it what you will: Casserole d'Aubergine, Mushroom Melanzane, or Eggplant Champignon. Each name, like the ingredients, receives inspiration from the countries that comprise the Mediterranean coastline.

Prep time: 35 min, Cook time: 30 min. Servings: 8

2 large eggplant
3 c cashews, soaked and drained
6 petite artichoke hearts
3 cloves garlic
1 T lemon juice
4 c water
1-1/2 c quinoa
8oz mushrooms, chopped
6 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
pepper to taste

Peel and slice the eggplant (round or julienned) and place in a colander to “sweat” for 30 min. In a blender, combine cashews, artichoke hearts, garlic, lemon juice, and water. Pour quinoa into a large casserole dish with 1/2 of the cashew cream, making sure all the quinoa is covered. Add the eggplant, then top with mushrooms and the remaining “cream.” Bake at 375 on the center rack for 20 minutes. Sprinkle rosemary on top and bake for another 10 minutes, until warm through and the quinoa’s germ ring shows.

*If you're allergic to cashews, try using macadamia nuts. Or substitute 3-1/2c coconut milk, omitting 1c of water. (I haven't tried this, but if it works, let me know!) And if you can't get artichoke hearts, don't sweat it; just leave them out.

For me, the dish represents life. In France, I could eat anything. "Restriction" and "intolerance" had no place in my gastronomic vocabulary. I was free; I was alive; and the possibilities were endless. Similarly, eggplant champignon demonstrates a broadening horizon. It is an embrace of a transforming palate (having spent most of my life hating both eggplant and mushroom) and a celebration of what I can eat, not a desperate imitation of something I can't.

It's also about love. Eggplant Champignon is a flavourful compilation of my many passions: France, food, health, creativity - the cashews and quinoa even lend a bit of Hispanic influence!

And since I enjoy researching the finer details of my unique diet, here's a little history and nutrition lesson:

Aubergine: The eggplant originated in India but is very popular in the countries in the Mediterranean basin. Surprisingly, it contains nicotine. But don't worry; you'd have to eat 20 lbs (9 kg) to equal the nicotine in a cigarette. Eggplants also help lower cholesterol and may aid in weight loss.
Mushroom: The white button mushroom (aka. crimini or Paris mushroom) matures into a portabello. It contains vitamin D2, sodium, phosphorus, and potassium. A mushroom-rich diet has also shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Artichoke: This North African relative of the daisy is rich in antioxidants, folate (B9) and magnesium, and may lead to healthier heart, bowels, and gall bladder.
Rosemary: A Mediterranean native, rosemary is an excellent source of iron, calcium, and B6 and has been linked to improved memory.
Quinoa: This pseudo-grain from the Amaranth family is actually South American in origin, but due to my gluten-intolerance, bulgur wasn't an option. Besides, quinoa is an excellent source of protein, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, and dietary fiber - so what's not to love?

*This recipe made its debut at the ARC Vegan Hotdish Cook-Off in Minneapolis, MN on February 9, 2013. It is an Allyson Holdahl (that's me) original recipe.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sweet Potato Cauliflower Soup

Winter has brought with it many an orange soup - my cousin's Pumpkin Curry Soup, a simple Butternut Soup, and this guy from Manifest Vegan: Sweet Potato Cauliflower Soup.

Basically, drizzle the cauliflower with olive oil, dust with garam masala, and bake at 400 for 20-30 minutes. At the same time, boil the sweet potato until tender, mash, and add cauliflower. (Save the boil-water/broth to add back in until desired consistency is obtained. I put in too much this time, and too little the next... but it was still cozy and satisfying.)

Add salt, pepper, onion, and garlic to taste, and partake.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Creamy Kale

Kale is beautiful. So this week, I really wanted to do something with it that was a little different than my usual cozy mushroom kale. Being slightly envious of my roommate's hunk of Brie, I decided to try out this recipe from Hungry Hungry Hippie.

Honestly, I did everything wrong. First I left the kale wilting too long. Then, after adding the sauce, I figured the dishes weren't going to wash themselves... FYI: I can't multitask. Case in point: the little moisture in my creamy sauce cooked off, and I was left with an almost solid mass of cashew kale.

But here's the good news: It was a very delicious mass - good enough, in fact, that my (non-vegan) sister urged me, "Hang on to this one. It's definitely worth repeating."

When I was little, my aunt told me her kids wouldn't eat broccoli unless she put cheese sauce on it. Cheesy broccoli never sounded persuading enough for me as a child, but I think kids would enjoy this (if they're brave enough to try it).

Monday, January 21, 2013

Wild Rice and Lentil Stew

It sounds like a fairly simple staple food (which it is), but add onion and garlic and enhance with marjoram and garam masala, and you have a lush, cultural dinner in less than 45 minutes. Add other veggies (like grated carrots or diced celery) or spices (paprika, perhaps) to taste, but don't get too carried away. Good ingredients should speak for themselves (says Archestratus, Greek-Silician poet and 'foodie,' 4th century BC).

(That's roasted belgian endives on the side, and butternut squash in the back. Didn't care much for the endive, but maybe I did something wrong - this is my first time after all.)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Packed Lunch Ideas

In two short weeks, I'll be heading north for a retreat. Meals are provided - but not for me.

Now, for the last three months, lunch has consisted of peanut butter and jam on gluten-free bread (contains egg whites, so not entirely vegan). Repetition doesn't bother me. But seven meals in a row? That's a bit excessive.

So my brain's been storming, and I have a few ideas that might make my friends jealous. None of them require re-heating, so they're great for road trips or long work days.

Sushi. I made norimaki for the first time this week, and it was so easy, it might become regular fare. Apparently, moisture from the filling can make the nori difficult to chew, so wrap in plastic for optimum freshness and eat as soon as possible.
Tabbouleh. Quinoa is an excellent source of amino acids, calcium, and iron - not to mention the fact that it's delicious! Actually, quinoa served with any assortment of vegetables is a great idea.
Zucchini Noodles. Once cut, these should be eaten within a couple of days, but they're a simple and refreshing choice.
Collard Wraps. These babies can be stuffed with any variety of vegetables and sprouts. The taco wrap at Ecopolitan in Minneapolis is both fabulous and filling! Try other leafy greens too, like a crisp romaine.
Fruit and Nut Bars. More of a breakfast or snack option, but they're fast, healthy, and tame travellers.
Salad. This classic needs no introduction. But it can get boring after a while, especially amidst a cold winter.
Sandwiches. Peanut butter and jam is just the beginning. Pair veggies with your favourite spread, or make a mock-tuna salad from walnuts.
Stuffed Vegetables. Whether it's tomato, mushroom, cucumber, or jalepeño, a fresh veggie can go a long way. Slice them ahead of time or pack a knife, then spoon them full of hummus, pesto, guacamole, or cashew cheese according to your fancy.

And if you find yourself a little closer to civilization, check out the Happy Cow directory for raw/vegan/vegetarian restaurants in the area.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Portobello Pizza Bowls

Sometimes, a picture just doesn't do a dish justice.... I wish this photo could communicate how perfectly satisfying this pizza is - and no complicated crust recipe to make it gluten-free! A recipe (and a better picture) are on Oh She Glows!, but honestly, how hard can it be? Tomato paste, cashew cheese, and veggies, baked in the portobello until warmed through.

Okay, I actually like recipes, because it takes the guesswork out of cooking. Still, having the freedom to experiment is a beautiful thing. My cheese (which is not the one included in the recipe) didn't turn out too pretty. It tasted great though - although perhaps a bit less would have been a good idea...